The LS1 has certainly come of age. Now in its sixth year of production, the aluminum V-8 is making quite a reputation for itself. It was big news in 1998 when reports started to surface of brand new, bone-stock F-Bodies running 12s right off the showroom floor. Three years later, there are an ever-growing number of F-cars squeaking into the 11s with just bolt-ons. It goes without saying that the LS1 aftermarket is booming.
At the forefront of the LS1 modification game is Agostino Racing Engines (ARE). It is no secret that proprietor Nick Agostino is very fond of the LS1. In fact, a stroll through his Toronto, Ontario, shop reveals a dozen or more LS1-powered F-Bodies and C5s waiting their turn at transformation. Agostino's specialty is tailoring each package to the client's specific needs. There are no cookie-cutter cars being pumped out at ARE.
Why the big demand for the Agostino touch, you wonder? After all, there are plenty of companies modifying the LS1 these days. It's a one-word answer: innovation. Agostino and his staff have one of the most exhaustive Gen-III R&D programs going. The result is a slew of custom parts, ranging from head bolts and main-stud kits to big-bore head gaskets and custom valvetrains. No stone has been left unturned in the quest for LS1 superiority.
Perhaps the most important development has been the advent of the big-bore LS1. Yes, you read that correctly. The technology is now in place for reliable re-sleeving of the LS1 block. What was once thought improbable has now become a viable performance alternative. Though the big-bore engine won't make the torque of a big stroker, it will crank out some very impressive numbers.
Agostino recently invited us to take a look at the build-up of a particularly stout big-bore/short-stroke engine. It's a 393ci, solid roller animal that should thrash out more than 450 hp, without a blower or nitrous, and put a full-weight F-Body solidly in the 10s. Will it? Follow along and find out!